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7/25/2023 Representative Morales and Senator Bell Raise Concerns About RIDE Proposal to Demolish Mt. Pleasant High
STATE HOUSE – Last night, the Providence Public School District, under Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) control, due to the state takeover, announced their proposals for Mt. Pleasant High at a public meeting at the school.  One of the proposals, which RIDE seemed to favor, called for demolishing Mt. Pleasant High.  Although RIDE’s report suggested it would cost $176 million to rebuild the school to the same level, they instead proposed a cheaper new school at only $100 million.  The new school would not have features like an auditorium.  Acting through PPSD, RIDE also proposed a hybrid option, demolishing most of the building but keeping part of it while building a smaller, new school behind the existing building.

“We heard overwhelming opposition at the public meeting to demolishing our historic neighborhood high school,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence). “Overall, there was a lot of frustration from our neighbors and educators about the lack of details that were shared as we were presented with three proposals that made no reference to the interior design or classroom models that our students would be learning in, whether it be a new building or renovation. Furthermore, PPSD shared that they are set on submitting a Phase II application to RIDE to indicate which proposal they want to pursue by September 15th, which is just a month and a half away. Hearing that expedited timeline added to the frustration and concerns of our neighbors as many of them questioned why we weren’t having these concrete discussions earlier and in further detail.”

“Demolition would be heartbreaking,” said Senator Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence).  “The Jacobs Report estimated repairing the school at just $31 million in 2017.  Even doubling that figure for inflation and cost overruns, renovation is the cheapest option, with money to spare to make more investments on top of what’s needed for basic repairs.  Our students deserve a renovated Mt. Pleasant High.  With RIDE and the takeover administration having cut the repair funding for Mt. Pleasant by $26.5 million, down to just $3.6 million, our neighborhood high school is in desperate need of renovation.”

Senator Bell and Representative Morales clarified that they would not support turning Mt. Pleasant High over to a charter school.

“The Mt. Pleasant High building must remain a traditional public school,” said Representative Morales.  “The continued practice of giving away our public school buildings to charter schools is nothing less than the slow destruction of our public school system.”

“Time and time again, we are told a building must be closed because it cannot be fixed.  Then, it gets given to a charter school.  From Perry Middle School to the recent proposals to turn over the closed Carl Lauro and Broad Street schools, the pattern is clear.  We cannot let that happen with Mt. Pleasant High,” said Senator Bell.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903